First of all … err “Super Carry”? What’s all that about? It sounds like a character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe more that a Japanese mini truck. But perhaps a better way to think about it is to imagine Suzuki designers taking one look at the Daihatsu Jumbo and saying, “Hold my beer!” Because this Super Carry really does take the concept of an extended cab mini truck pretty much to its logical — super-extended — extreme. Check it out:
Suzuki Super Carry: The Back Story
Every superhero has a backstory, and the Super Carry is no exception.
For 39 years, Suzuki’s Carry was king of the Japanese mini truck hill. Subaru’s Sambar, Honda’s Acty and other’s tried to prize that crown away, but all failed. Until a fateful day in 2009 when Daihatsu’s Hijet finally managed to win the sales wars and became the #1 best-selling mini truck in Japan. And this wasn’t just a temporary set back for Suzuki. No, the Daihatsu Hijet has been the best-selling Japanese mini truck every year since then. Now, that had to hurt. You don’t have such a long run of success and not smart when your competitor gets the upper hand. And then keeps it. Knocking you down year after year.
What was Suzuki to do? Well, it seemed like a clue Daihatsu’s success was in the diversity of mini truck offerings they had. There’s the regular cab pick up Hijet, the dump, the van, the crew cab Deck Van … and the Jumbo. How does Suzuki’s line up face up to this onslaught? Well, before Super Carry came to the rescue, there was nothing equivalent to the Hijet Deck Van or Jumbo. And you should know that the Jumbo is a very popular model in the Hijet range. Armed with this knowledge, the answer was simple: Grab a slice of the action with a new extended cab model to take a bite out of those Hijet Jumbo sales.
But it’s not easy to take down an incumbent. Sure, the kei truck rules in Japan are pretty restrictive, but just copying the Hijet Jumbo pattern probably wasn’t going to make the impact they wanted. The solution? Don’t just extend that cab … Super size it. So that’s exactly what they did.
The year? 2018. The event? The Japan Truck Show. The Suzuki Super Carry launches and goes on sale in May that year with the DA16T generation Carry as its base.
To show off just how far that cab had been stretched, Suzuki had the genius idea of adding a wrap on the sides to highlight the extra cab space the “Super” part of the “Super Carry” gives you. And not just at the back. Don’t miss the extra height in the roof line as well. That’s useful space also. Was it attractive? Not really. But certainly effective.
And what about this name, Super Carry? Well, we shouldn’t really skip over this, because Suzuki has made a bit of a pigs ear of the branding. It’s a descriptive name, but just be aware that Suzuki makes another model called the Super Carry in Vietnam, and yet another one in India. Yes, they have the same name, but they aren’t the same vehicle as this Japan-only Super Carry. For one thing, only the Japan-version Super Carry can be sold in the US. Just something to bear in mind before you go off Googling and your head starts spinning with all these different Super Carrys.
Did Suzuki do enough to put some clear blue water between it’s Super Carry and its arch-rival, the Hijet Jumbo? Let’s put them back to back and you can decide for yourself.
Suzuki Super Carry Interior
As expected, that extended (distended?) cab really does add on the space. A whopping extra 1 1/2 feet extra space out the back and an extra 4 1/2 inches of extra headroom. When you add those numbers to a Japanese mini truck, you are really making a big change.
A picture is worth at least a thousand words, so take a look at these two photos. First we’ll have our reference regular cab model:
Now, let’s step inside our Suzuki Super Carry cab. Okay, so there’s a smaller-than-US-size Japanese man for reference purposes … and this photo was clearly taken with a wider-angle lens, but you get the idea. That really is a significantly larger space and, as you can see, the area behind the seats really is a practical shelf for putting tool boxes and other things you don’t really want out there in the back getting exposed to the elements.
Okay, so if you’re his size, you can stretch. But even if you’re a significantly taller American, there’s a lot of space in that cab for you to get comfortable. And it’s not just about absolute space. We’ve already seen how that shelf behind the seats gives you a sensibly sized area for tool boxes and the like, as our Japanese model here is demonstrating.
But there are other neat touches that you can spot in this photo, if you look carefully …
- Check out the ceiling area at the front of the cab. What’s that with the sun visors on it? It doesn’t look like it’s part of the roof — and that’s because it isn’t. That’s a shelf to give you some extra storage space up high as well. Obviously, don’t put anything up there that could fall out and knock you on the head unexpectedly when you’re driving, but there’s all sorts of things you could keep up there within easy arm’s reach but hidden out of sight.
- And spot anything about the seats? You see the driver’s seat — he’s sitting on it. But what about the passenger seat? Right! It’s folded down flat and … he has his coffee perched on it. Clearly not a problem as he’s parked (not recommended at all when driving), but that passenger seat has a handy plastic tray back that forms a table surface when the seat is folded down flat. If it’s just you in the cab, that could well be some useful extra space.
A more roomy cab isn’t just good for storage and more handy places to keep things either. More space means more seat adjustability. And more ways to adjust your seat means more ways to get comfortable.
And, in case you were wondering, here are some more features that will make your Suzuki Super Carry a massive step up from a UTV:
- UV-cutting window glass all around.
- Adjustable AC and heat.
- Some models have power windows (and the rest have manual wind-up ones).
- Many places to store things around the cabin, not just in the glove compartment and overhead shelf. Need somewhere for your phone? Check. Make sure your keys are safely stored where you can find them? Check.
- And if you’re taking a bottle of water with you, or you’re coffee mug, there’s a cup holder for that.
Suzuki Super Carry Body Colors
So inside that cab is a comfortable place to be with lots of useful storage space. But the shape of this Super Carry mini truck isn’t exactly too gentle on the eyes; that extended cab gives it some rather awkward proportions. But it doesn’t have to be so tough to look at. You see, Suzuki has a great range of surprisingly subtle colors that will give your extended cab model a classy look.
(Just remember these Supers are shown on Japan-original factory wheels and tires, rather than full off-road tires.)
Suzuki Super Carry Engine And Transmission
So you’ve got a spacious place to use as your “office” as you go off-road around your farm but, of course, how you get around is important. And that’s down to the engine and transmission in your Suzuki Super Carry mini truck. Now, just like the Daihatsu Hijets, these Super Carry mini trucks are limited by the same strict rules that govern all kei trucks built in Japan. But let’s get more into the details here, starting first with the engine.
The engine is the same engine you find in both the Super Carry and Carry models. It’s Suzuki’s R06A-type 3-cylinder water-cooled engine with electronic fuel injection and variable valve timing, producing its maximum power at 5,700 rpm, but with max torque coming in at a lower 3,500 rpm. Both the R06A in these Carrys, and the KF engines in the Daihatsu Hijets hit their power peaks at 5,700 rpm, but the Suzuki engine hits the top of the torque curve 500 rpm lower than Daiahtsu’s KF engine. We’re not talking about axle-bending hypercars here, but even so, having max torque arrive just that bit earlier is one area in which the Suzuki beats out the Hijet. Either way, both still have lots of good pulling power to keep you moving and hauling over difficult terrain.
The R06A engines in these Carry mini trucks are also a significant step up from their predecessor K6A engines, having 10% less internal friction. They were also the first kei vehicle engines to have VVT (variable valve timing), and were the lightest in the class when launched. However, with the DA16T now almost a decade old, this R06A engine has found itself outdone by the latest Hijet engine, with that engine’s fuel-saving start-stop technology. It remains to be seen how Suzuki answers that when the DA16T is inevitably replaced in the near future.
Since these engines are designed for road-going vehicles (although mini trucks are sold for off-road use only in the US under Federal law), they are built to the NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) standards you would expect for such a vehicle. It’s not something you will notice all the time, but a smooth, quiet engine isn’t going to grate on your nerves so much when you’re out and about working on your property all day.
Having said that, they are pretty easy to maintain. Need to fill up with gas? They take your normal regular gasoline. Need to replace air or oil filters? No problem, the parts are readily available and fitting them isn’t difficult. Have particularly cold winters? Make sure you use anti-freeze just as you do with any of your other vehicles. These Suzukis aren’t some kind of thoroughbred Ferrari for rich people, so you’ll find that maintenance isn’t rocket science and you can do all the regular stuff yourself.
And where is that engine? Well, as you may have been able to guess from the body style, the engine is under the cab, mounted low just below the seats, giving this Super Carry an excellent low center of gravity, perfect for an off-road vehicle. The seats are easy to remove and, once you’ve done this, you have easy access to the engine if you need to change the oil or work on it.
You can’t really see it very well when you get under the seats to access it, so here it is — just the engine — in all its compact glory. In its own way, the engineering on display is just as good as any you will find in a Swiss watch.
While Daihatsu has two different transmission options (automatic or manual), Suzuki actually has three — automatic, manual, and an odd hybrid of these two called “5AGS” — more on that later). Let’s begin with the manual.
The Carry mini trucks (regular or “Super Carry”, like the ones on this page) with manual transmission have 5-speeds, just like those from Daihatsu. And some of these models also have the hi-lo switchable range that is referred to as the Farming Package. But you will notice a slight difference between the Super Carry hi-lo range lever, and the simpler one in the Hijet Jumbos. See if you can spot it:
That’s right, you’ve got these extra settings labeled “4L”, “4H” and “2H”. So what’s that all about? At the end of the day, it’s to give you extra flexibility as you use your mini truck:
- 4L – the Super Carry is in 4WD mode and “Low” range. Perfect for climbing a steep slope, for example.
- 4H – the Super Carry is in 4WD mode and “High” range. For example, if you’re driving down a snowy track, but it’s not particularly steep or slow going.
- 2H – the Super Carry is in 2WD model and “High” range. Best for if you’re in something like more normal road conditions, such as driving down a flat dirt road.
The DA16T current Super Carry iteration has a traditional 3-speed automatic, just like the older Daihatsu Hijet models used to have. However, Daihatsu has since (at the end of 2021) replaced the traditional automatic option with a CVT transmission. It remains to be seen what Suzuki does to counter this, but in the Hijet, the CVT gives significantly better fuel economy than was possible with the older traditional auto, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Suzuki took that leap in the future as well. We don’t know when a new Suzuki Super Carry mini truck will launch, but the DA16T is getting pretty long in the tooth and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a replacement soon … and to find that it also has a CVT instead of a traditional auto.
5AGS automatic transmission
These Japanese and their acronyms, right? 5AGS? What on earth’s that? Well, first I’ll tell you about the “AGS” part. That stands for “Auto Gear Shift”. Ah, maybe it’s becoming clearer now? And the “5”? That refers to the number of gears. So, the easiest way to think of it is that it’s a 5-speed manual transmission which can shift automatically, which means it gets significantly better fuel economy than the regular auto, without sacrificing the convenience, plus it has the flexibility of true manual shifting as well.
Well that makes sense … but what does it mean in real world driving? Well, you can choose between the different modes. Go full auto or full manual, it’s up to you. The only thing you will want to bear in mind is that, unlike the true manual transmission models, the 5AGS models can’t be bought with the hi-lo range, or with diff lock.
Sounds like a complex piece of engineering? Well, yes, it is:
Let’s not continue without reiterating that all the Japanese mini trucks for sale at our independent dealers are for off-road use only. So, they all have 4WD, even though 2WD mini trucks are sold in Japan. Just like the regular Suzuki Carrys, Suzuki Super Carrys are also available in both 2WD and 4WD format, but if you want one for your farm or ranch in the US, then it’s going to be a 4WD model for sure.
Just like the older Hijet Jumbos, the DA16T Suzuki Super Carrys have a button with which you can select either 2WD or 4WD. Most of the time, you can just leave it in 4WD as you move around your property. But sometimes it’s going to make sense to switch it into 2WD to save some gas, simply because that extra grip from the 4WD system isn’t needed — for example, if you have a paved road, or a packed, dry dirt track. The 4WD button gives you the option of making that saving.
But where Suzuki has been a little left in the dust, so to speak, is in automating this. Daihatsu’s late 2021 new model release coincided with a new 2WD / 4WD switchable system that basically leaves the vehicle in charge of making this decision. So the mini truck would only be in 4WD for the times the conditions really warranted it. Obviously, this arrangement is a lot easier than reaching for the button to make the change manually, so it definitely helps the latest Hijet optimize for fuel economy. Again, it remains to be seen what Suzuki intends to to do match or better this.
Suzuki Super Carry Load Bed
At 6 feet 6 inches in length, the floor of the Suzuki Super Carry is still long (only 2inches less than that of the regular cab Carry), but you have to remember that you only get that full length when you slot your load into the nook at the base of the cab back. You cannae change the laws of physics, as Scotty would remind us, so that extra space gained in the cab is going to have to subtracted from somewhere. Which is why the load area measured from the back of the cab is just 4ft 10in. Now, to put that in perspective, that’s still a lot of prime hauling real estate if you pit your Super Carry against pretty much any UTV. It’s only when you compare it with other mini trucks that it doesn’t look so great.
There may not be so much space, but you can still haul as much weight as you can with a regular Carry. So this Super Carry is no slouch. You have a lot of space and you can haul up to 1700lbs of weight. So what you have to ask yourself is just how much space do you need and want for your stuff, and how much do you need for you? We can’t tell you the answer to that equation, but that’s how you can figure out whether this Suzuki Super Carry, with its mega cab, the Daihatsu Hijet Jumbo, with its slightly smaller cab, or a regular cab model, such as the Carry or regular Hijet is the right one for you.
And if it’s dark out there, don’t worry. You can still get things done with the load area lamp turned on. That’s it on the rear of the cab. A quick flip of the switch and the rear bed lighting gives you a clear view of whatever you need to do back there.
Don’t be surprised at how many practical features these Suzuki Super Cary mini trucks have. You can’t sell vehicles by their millions over decades to working people throughout Japan and not keep your customers happy with the most useful features to help them do their work.
Buying A Suzuki Super Carry Mini Truck
Suzuki Super Carrys are pretty rare here in Mini Truck Depot. To be honest, Daihatsu Jumbos seem to be the preferred extended cab mini truck option in the US, which is why you will find so many here. But if our dealers do have some, you will be able to find them here among the other Suzuki Carry minitrucks. And if you can’t find one? Contact us and we’ll connect you with a dealer from whom you can order one.